The early seventeenth century was a time of unbridled creativity for English writers. Will Shakespeare was whacking out his best plays, while King James and Co. were working on a great Bible.
Shakespeare and King James were responsible for some of the English language’s most memorable phrases and proverbs, including, “many are called, but few are chosen,” and “to thine own self be true.”
Recently, I gave my kids a quiz where they had to identify the source of classic English quotes. (If you’re interested, here’s a link to the quiz. It’s a lot of fun.)
While preparing the quiz, I made some interesting discoveries. Consider the phrase, “he gave up the ghost.” Heard that one? Did it come from Shakespeare or the King James Bible?
“He gave up the ghost”
The expression refers to someone dying, as in “Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age” (Gen. 25:8). So if you guessed the phrase came from the 1611 version of the King…